Successfully proving a common-law relationship is pivotal for common law sponsorship applications. Unlike marriage, common-law status lacks formal legal documents, making it essential to demonstrate the relationship’s authenticity through other substantial evidence.

Defining a Common-Law Relationship

A common-law relationship, recognized for immigration purposes, involves partners living together for at least 12 consecutive months. This criterion applies irrespective of gender. It’s crucial to understand that the relationship’s authenticity is judged based on shared life evidence rather than mere cohabitation. You need to demonstrate a marriage like relationship.

Critical Evidence to Support Your Application

  • Proof of Cohabitation: Lease or rental agreements, mortgage documents, utility bills (electricity, water, internet), and correspondence showing both names at the same address.
  • Financial Interdependence: Joint bank statements, shared credit cards, joint loans or mortgages, and insurance policies with both partners.
  • Statutory Declarations and Affidavits: Statements from friends, family, or community members acknowledging the relationship’s legitimacy and duration.
  • Joint Ownership and Investments: Deeds or titles showing joint ownership of property or vehicles, and investment records.
  • Shared Responsibilities: Receipts of joint purchases (appliances, furniture), evidence of shared household expenses, and documentation of joint decision-making in financial matters.
  • Personal Documents: Government-issued IDs, driver’s licenses, and insurance documents showing a shared address.
  • Social Evidence: Photos, social media posts, joint travel documents, and event invitations indicating a publicly recognized relationship.
  • Legal Documents: A statutory declaration of a common-law union (IMM 5409) and other relevant legal paperwork

Avoiding Red Flags in Evidence Collection

It’s important to avoid last-minute arrangements, such as newly opened joint accounts or sudden cohabitation agreements. Immigration officials look for evidence that spans the entire course of the relationship, not just the period leading up to the application.

Building a Strong Case Over Time

Common law couples should focus on gradually building a portfolio of shared responsibilities and commitments. It’s not just about gathering evidence but weaving a narrative that convincingly portrays the depth and sincerity of the relationship.

For a common-law relationship to be recognized in immigration applications, it requires well-documented, long-standing evidence. Start documenting shared aspects of your life early on, focusing on financial interdependence, cohabitation, and social acknowledgment of the relationship.

Compiling an effective evidence portfolio for a common-law relationship in Canadian immigration can be complex and nuanced. An immigration consultant can play a crucial role in ensuring your evidence is comprehensive and compelling. At Dr. Joe’s Immigration, we specialize in guiding couples through this process. We can help review your documentation to ensure it meets immigration standards and provide personalized advice to strengthen your case. For expert assistance and to book a consultation, feel free to contact us at Dr. Joe’s Immigration.

Helpful common law sponsorship resources:

  1. Sponsoring your common law partner in Canada
  2. Assessing a common law relationship
  3. Help your spouse work in Canada